BROOKHAVEN (PIX11) - Dozens of homes along the water on Fire Island may need to be demolished or moved to be rebuilt on other plots of land if a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers is approved.
The reason is to rebuild essential dunes on the barrier island that eroded over time, but were also destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
Those very barriers acted as protection to communities along the South Shore of Long Island.
“I think the signs are pretty clear right now. Sea levels will rise and it will rise pretty dramatically in a lot of locations and we just need to be ready for it,” said Joseph Vietri, Director of of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Center for Coastal and Storm Risk Management.
44 homes in total on Fire Island are at risk with the new plan. Thirty-nine of those homes, the majority, fall under the town of Brookhaven’s jurisdiction. While a homeowner will still have the right of refusal Town Supervisor Ed Romaine believes Superstorm Sandy proved the move is necessary, as will be a secondary phase to the Army Corps plans, which includes raising several hundred homes in a number of South Shore communities.
“I think Sandy served as a wake up call and it gave us all a glimpse into our collective future,” said Vietri.
The plan will still needs to pass through several levels of approval, but once it does the demolition and raising of homes is expected to begin by the winter. The project will cost $700 million, which will come from federal money approved from the Sandy bill. $500 million alone will be dedicated to the raising of homes.